I know that some reader of this articles will have a secure job (whatever that means), some will be approaching retirement and others will be retired already. So you may be wondering why this article about job market has relevance for you.
Well, from a purely vocational perspective it may not. However, from an investment point of view you could find it of value – by identifying the expanding and contracting areas of the economy.
For most of us, our ability to earn an income is easily our most valuable asset and its absence would make life look very different indeed. It is important to remember, though, that the job market today won’t be the job market of tomorrow.
Pretty obviously, our population is getting older. We are having fewer children (62.9 per 1000 American-born female on average), living longer (average life expectancy for women is 81.5 years and men is 75.9 years) and retiring earlier. This, to me, is a fascinating indicator to where future employment will lie. Into the next century, the growth areas for employment and, therefore, the ones that I am focusing on as an investor, are based on what I believe our ageing population will need.
For starters, there will be heightened demand for carers for nursing homes and retirement villages. For those who decide to stay in their home for as long as they can, this will also provide a boon for the domestic-help industry. Likewise, you don’t have to be Nostradamus to see that there will be an increase in the demand for medical nursing staff. It’s also expected that the baby-boomer for medical nursing staff. It’s also expected that the baby-boomer generation could boost the local tourism industry as they have time, and more importantly, the money to travel when they retire.
It probably comes as little surprise that many pundits rank technology and communications as the number one growth area, with the service industries – particularly finance and banking – not far behind. Despite the so-called ‘tech wreck’ in early 2000, the larger technology companies such as Telstra and Optus have continued to grow, this creating jobs. This trend is set continues.
On the flip side, there is some uncertainty about the future profitability of some smaller technology companies. You need to keep in mind the relative ‘newness’ of many of the smaller players operating in this field. These companies, especially start-up dot com businesses have not returned the expected profits. Only time will tell how many will survive in the short term, let along going on to become viable in the long term. However, the current assessment of the IT industry indicates rapid change, with ongoing new developments, leading to growing employment opportunities. Overall, the future for the technology sector looks good, although it might take some time before the industry settles down completely post the ‘tech wreck’.
The Services Sector
The services sector is ranked just behind IT and telecommunications as a future growth industry. It covers a broad range of vocational areas such as community services; wholesale and retail trades; public administration and defence; finance, property and business services; and recreational services. In recent years careers in sales have been particularly popular, with industry forecasts suggesting that growth in this area will continue.
The good news for people looking to enter sales is that many workers can match their skills and experience to work in it. This area also experiences high employee turnover and, according to the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business’s Job Futures Report, projected jobs growth in sales exceeds the national average.
Over recent years, telemarketing and cell centers have also experienced major growth and this trend is expected to continue as demand for these services grows. The upshot of this is that good sales people and telemarketers should have little problem finding work. Another good thing about sales is that the skills can be learn and developed on the job and generally require little formal training.
The services sector is also playing a major role in changing the traditional way we work. Companies in this sector are now leaning towards more flexible staffing arrangements and working conditions including contracting, part-time work and casual employment, as well as outsourcing.
In the past, people grew their own vegetables and tended sheep to provide wool for clothes, now we simply throw our groceries into a supermarket trolley, or even order them online. The next step could see us outsourcing all of those mundane domestic tasks (like ironing, cooking and cleaning) that all too often otherwise don’t get done!
Researching employment opportunities
Whether you’re trying to change jobs or fast-track your career, I strongly urge you to take some time to research the job market to pinpoint the ‘growth industries’. With the work landscape constantly changing, it’s even more important that you get the right qualifications, skills and experience to make yourself more employable and take advantage of careers that offer solid opportunities in the future.
I know it might be stating the obvious, but it’s really important that you plan your career carefully. It makes sense not only to find a job in an area where there is growth potential (such as IT or banking), but to also seek out a progressive company that has a commitment to training and career progression.
So where do you begin your research? A good starting point is the Job Futures Report that I’ve Already mentioned. It predicts that the jobs with the best prospects will be the ‘professional’ occupation such as computing; business/information; sales/marketing and advertising; health; social welfare and accountancy/auditing. These generally require you to have a degree or higher qualification. Other jobs, such as careers/aides that don’t call for the same level of training, also have strong growth prospects.